A small garden designed with sailing in mind
Victoria lives in a bijoux cottage in the harbour town of Emsworth. The back garden was really quite small and the gravel which had been put down for low maintenance several years before was cultivating its own soil beneath it and plenty of weeds, as it will over time.
She asked for raised beds so that gardening would involve less kneeling or bending to ground level and was keen on the idea of decking. She loved sailing and sailed often. There was also an Adirondack chair which she loved in the garden, made from Cedar. Sometimes a coastal influence for a garden means the beach specifically but this time we were going offshore.
I made 3 rough plans for the garden but I was not at all surprised that she went straight for the one with long sweeping curves and decking based on more circular arcs. Even so, the other draughts flagged up a few points for discussion. Some nautical influence was part of her brief and by building the seeping curves of the raised beds with rendered block work painted white we created an impression of billowing sails. She also wanted lighting and we incorporated ‘porthole like’ lights into the walls of the bed.
The Cedar decking I found was quite narrow and having it running both across and along the garden made the area look both longer and wider. This was further accentuated by lots of horizontals from the battens set around most of the garden. Although it is a lot of work we painted these battens a very calming shade of green appropriately called ‘Sea Grass’.
To really enforce the optical illusions already going on I placed the posts which the battens are fixed to closer together as you go further down the garden. Your experience tells you that they must be equally spaced as usual and so looking down the garden your mind tells you that is much longer than it really is. The curves and the fact that decking is usually much wider also draw out this effect.
Because space was very limited in this garden some seating is incorporated into the top of the raised beds and the decking coming up to the house is almost the whole width of the house.